Furniture Rescue– From Terrible to Terrific for about $20

When my husband and I got married in 2006 we were young and had yet to really discover our “style” and “taste.” We needed some living room furniture and so we went with generic 9-11, “The Room Store.” It was affordable and the coffee table and end table looked great… for about 6 months. Then glasses were left to make rings, bottles of nail polish remover got knocked over, and a humidifier left a wack white warp on one of them. Time passed and I grew to detest them. (Like drag them outside and have a bonfire– regardless of the season.) We now have two kids and less income. I came up with a great way to reinvent the kindling back into furniture that I like. All you need is some cloth, spray adhesive, and a hard piece of plastic.

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I went to Hobby Lobby and got 1 yard of fabric (per table), and a can of spray adhesive. The coffee table is huge and 1 yard was enough to cover it. The end table is a lot smaller, so with 1 yard of fabric for it–I had some left over for another project. I got this vintage looking teal and turquoise fabric that fits in with the colors in the house. Make sure you find a fabric you really love. (Thicker fabrics work better— like brocade, linen, pintuck, etc)

This can be done by one person, but is easier with two. I am going to show you how we did the end table, step by step.

STEP ONE– Obvious, but really clean the table. Whatever is on there will basically be there forever under your cloth.
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Here it WAS…. gross!

STEP TWO– Practice draping the fabric over the table. Make sure you have enough to tuck it all the way under the table and get it basically where you want. Cut off excess.
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STEP THREE– Spray a copious amount (evenly) of adhesive on the table surface. (Not the sides yet.) It is really smelly, so open a window and stick your kids in another room. Also, it can fly around a bit so it is probably better to do outside or throw down a drop cloth.

STEP FOUR– Place the fabric on and smooth it all over. I used a plastic kitchen scrubber but anything hard and thin would work. (Credit card, etc.)
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STEP FIVE– Now spray one side. (If it has a lip and is not flat.) Smooth the fabric up the side and over. Really get in the crease so that it looks sharp.
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Step SIX– You will not have a great surface and sides, so here comes the slightly more tricky part. It will be hanging loose like a sad little table cloth. You will need to spray each outside-side, smooth down, and then use hot glue/spray adhesive to “tack it up” under the table. You can also fold the corners and spray down that way, if that’s your thing.

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The result?
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Let me know if you try this and how it works for you! Thanks, Katie

An Illustrative Look At Eightball

As I mentioned in my bio, I’m a huge Daniel Clowes fan. There are days when I want to pack up and move to California for the sole purpose of being near him/ other fans/ special events. But alas, my life is here in Texas, so I have to admire him from afar. I, like many others became entranced shortly after seeing Ghost World for the first time. Since then I have been acquiring and admiring his entire collection of work. One of my favorite things to do as a reader is seek out alternative covers and illustrations for each individual story. The following photos are all of the different covers I’ve been able to find for the collective comics of “Eightball”. So here they are, enjoy. And PLEASE, feel free to share any I may have missed. -Lauren imageimageimageimageimage

Thank you, Gil Elvgren

This gallery contains 14 photos.

I have always adored the artwork of Gil Elvgren. He is considered one of the finest “pin-up” and glamour artists of the 20th century. A little about him: “Elvgren was a classical American illustrator. He was a master of portraying the all-American ideal feminine, but he wasn’t limited to the calendar pin-up industry. He was… Read more.

16 Diet Tips– 1 Month with Weight Watchers

These are some tips that I have for those sexy mamas who are looking to lose a little weight, be healthier, etc. I am doing Weight Watchers and loving it. After I got over the initial inner scream of, “AHHHH!!! Weight Watchers!!! I AM my MOM!” it has been really working for me. My tips may be “no-brainers” but they are things that I wasn’t always doing, even though I knew they were good for my health and happiness. Here goes:

1.) 1

Have your own food space. We all know that “diet” or healthy food is not cheap. If I didn’t have my own little cubby for such delights as “Pastry Crisps,” I might find them all gone within a day. (The only evidence? Six wrappers in my oh-so-skinny husband’s nightstand.) My family knows that the food up there is just for me.

2.) 2

If you want one thing (and you know it is not low-fat or very healthy for you) then do some research and try to find an alternative. Ever since I started Weight Watchers I have been craving peanut butter like crazy. I did a little Google search for “peanut butter healthier alternative” and I discovered my new boo, PB2. I can get it at a local store, or you can buy it online.

3.) 3

This can be my real diet trap. I work 2 mornings and 2 evenings each week out of the house. (I also teach high school classes online and make art in my home.) I used to always be too tired to cook or too busy to plan. The employees of the Taco Bell down the street knew us and that’s not a good sign. Now I am in a weekly menu routine. I spend the weekend doing “research” on Pinterest.com, etc. and figure out what I will serve each night/lunch if applicable. Then I print out the recipes and put them in the composition notebook in the photo. When I go to the store I ONLY buy the items on my list. It can be difficult to stick to, but my waistline and pocketbook are both feeling a lot better!

4.) 4

When I go to the store I like to come home and do some prep work right away to make it easier on me later in the week. I always have fresh onions, peppers, and other vegetables that I use a lot in my cooking already chopped and in airtight containers in the fridge. It cuts down on my cooking time, and my stress, when I need it most.

5.) 5

It seems like a no-brainer, but always measure your ingredients. I come from a long line of “a pinch of this” and “a dollop of that.” When I started measuring ingredients more carefully I realized that I was eating a lot more oils, fats, etc. than I thought.

6.) 6

This is another hard one for me. I am a soda-holic. In my prime I was doing about a 6 pack of Big Red or Pepsi… a day. That was when I was young and skinny, and now it would make me look like Mr. Blimpie. However, after I stopped drinking so much soda I didn’t start drinking a lot of anything else. Now that I am drinking tons of water every day it makes me feel a lot better and more refreshed. I enjoy adding Crystal Light Energy packets in to give it some kick. I would suggest getting a water bottle you love and just becoming attached to the hip with it. You will see a difference in how you feel/weight loss.

7.) 7

Always eat your breakfast. Studies show that it can help with weight control and improve your performance. (http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/many-benefits-breakfast) Plus, when you eat breakfast, chances are you won’t be a Debbier Downer or Grumpy Greta. I like to have the “Spiru-Tein Blueberries and Cream High protein Energy Meal” with a cup of almond/soy milk in the blender. Total, it is 4 WW+ points.

8.) 8

Pre-package your snacks. So many snack foods come in a big box. When you’re hungry you want to EAT! (Ain’t nobody got time for counting out 36 veggie straws!) I like to package different snacks in ziplock baggies and write on the bag what the WW points+ value is. It makes it easy to keep track of and avoid overeating.

9.) 9

I have an almost 3-year-old and almost 1-year-old. I know that their desires for candy, cookies, and junk food will only increase exponentially over time. I want them to eat a healthy, mostly organic diet. However, I want them to have some “treats” and fun foods too. So I buy one food they really want, let them have it occasionally, and put it up high in the cabinet. Then I am not tempted to eat some, because it is a hassle to get down and not in my direct vision line.

10.) 91

Eggs are your friend. They really are… or rather egg whites. You can have one egg white for 0… read that 0… WW Points+ I love to have one with my breakfast. It gives you some protein and it is more heart healthy. Lauren doesn’t like eggs… read: wishes they would go to Siberia and never come back, but maybe I will eventually change her mind. (Somewhere, she is scoffing.)

11.)92

Compare your foods! I bought these both at the same time and thought they were probably about the same, nutritionally. Nope. One was fat free and the other was 12 g of fat per serving. After I looked at them in the kitchen I handed my husband the “Lemon and Chive” and said it was his.

12.) 93

Try to combine something that you don’t find tasty with something that you do. (Or with something that masks the untasty flavor.) I have been taking this Nopalina Fiber supplement and they recommend that you mix it with water. It never mixes well and then I have to gulp down a mouthful of wet and soggy fiber. I started mixing it with my morning yogurt and I love it!

13.) 94

Try something new. You never know, you might enjoy it! I like both of these with fat-free saltines for a mid-afternoon snack.

14.) 95

Buy what you eat the most, and what you have space for in your kitchen, in bulk! We eat fish and chicken the most. I can go to Sam’s Club and buy a package of chicken that will last us for 1 week+ for $10. I can get 10 tilapia filets there for about the same price. This is really beneficial for some night when your plans have changed. If you have foods, meats, veggies, etc in the house you can whip something together.

15.)96

Fresh fruits and vegetables are always better for you. You know exactly what you are eating and you don’t lose nutrients in the flash freeze or canning processes. (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/vitamins-in-veggies-fresh-vs-canned-vs-frozen.html)

16.) 97

This last tip is silly, but it is still true! I use the same table spoon measure about 6 times a day. I am always washing, drying, or looking for it. Get a few. 🙂

Any additional ideas or tips? Comment away!

–Katie

Dames In The Atomic Age

Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week. Every Wednesday I look forward to my fiancĂ© coming home like the zealots look forward to the second coming of Christ. Is it because we’re madly in love and can’t be away from each other for more than a few hours? Well yeah, but that’s everyday. What makes Wednesdays so special is that it is……Comic Book Day! All over the Nation, in every little comic book shop, Wednesdays are the days when all the new comics are released for the week/ month. Wednesdays are the Fridays of the nerd world. So once a week I wait patiently to see his truck pull up so we can go to our favorite little shop (More Fun Comics And Games, in beautiful Denton, TX) and get our weekly fix. This has been a tradition with us for almost 2 years now, it’s one of my favorite things to do together. His affinity for comic books goes back way farther than mine, which is why when we arrive at the checkout counter, his stack of finds always supersedes mine. He reads everything, everything. But I’m….a lot pickier. It really has to speak to me. I love love Daniel Clowes and Adrian Tomine and many others but Batman and Spider-Man just don’t interest me. Not being a huge consumer of Marvel or DC Comics, sometimes the pickins are slim. I can usually find stuff but sometimes I leave empty handed. Well not entirely empty handed, I usually have to help carry the mountain of comics my fiancĂ© has just purchased. So when I discovered this gem I was thrilled. “Dames In The Atomic Age” was staring right at me. It claimed to be a unique, pulp tale that pays homage to the B-Movies, Sci-Fi serials and crime magazines of the 1940’s and ’50’s.” I of course bought it and ran home and gobbled it right up. It was smart, sexy and extremely well written. I cannot wait to follow the whole series. It’s finds like these that make all those Wednesdays worthwhile. So if you’re into retro, modern, revival era revivals and detectivey sci-fi stories, I highly recommend this trade. Totally worth it for only $8.95 for the entire first volume. Happy Comic-Ing! Image

5 Ingredient Terrific Tilapia! (4 Points)

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This recipe is sinfully simple! With 5 ingredients (4 if you don’t like black olives) you can make an amazing dinner that it sure to be a big hit. As part of my Weight Watchers program, I am always trying new fish recipes. I love tilapia because of its not “so-fishy” taste. This dish can be prepped, baked, and done in 30 minutes flat.

Ingredients:
-4  pieces of frozen or fresh Tilapia
-1/2 cup of fat free Italian salad dressing
– 1 can of Rotel
-1/2 cup of reduced fat Parmesan cheese
-sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put fish in a glass baking dish and top with Italian dressing. Bake for 25 minutes, then top with tomatoes,Parmesan cheese, and black olives. Bake for 5 minutes or until fish is done.

This recipe is about 240 calories per serving or 4 Weight Watchers Points plus per serving. I pair it with a vegetable and a little rice. Mmm!

 

—Katie

Don’t Give Me That Lip

imageIf you are like me then your priorities in life have a similar hierarchy: food, sleep, finding the perfect red lipstick. I have spent countless hours and an impressive chunk of change in my endeavors to find that perfect shade of red. You know the one. Matte. Thick. Bright. Won’t fade to pink in 4 seconds and will stay on long after you’ve had that first Tab. You know it exists because you’ve seen in on that beautiful girl at the car show or in that magazine on your boyfriends night stand, the one with the tattooed beauty sprawled out on the hot rod. So why can’t you find it? Well cast your fears aside because I’ve found it. The grail, the precious, the coveted red lip. And the best part is you can afford it no matter what kind of budget you’re on. Here’s the break down:

For the penny pincher with style I recommend: Wet ‘N Wild in “Hot Red” ($1-3)

For the working gal with style I recommend: Loreal Infalliable Lip Color in “Red Fatale” ($5-10)

For the girl with Dads credit card with style I recommend: Mac Lipstick in “So Chaud, Lady Danger, Russian Red or Ruby Woo” ($15-20)

For the lady with the alligator purse with style I recommend: Laura Mercier in “Poppy” ($28-30)

For the girl with diamonds in her eyes with style I recommend: Christian Dior in “Cherry Red, Warm Red” ($32-35)

I hope this guide helps you in your quest to look smokin’ hot at that next auto roundup. Your feedback is welcome. Good luck!

–Lauren